The NHL All-Star Weekend was held January 24th and 25th in St. Louis Missouri. On top of the skills competition and the All-Star Games, a new event was added a 3-on-3 Women’s Hockey game. The skills competition took place Friday night along with the Women’s 3-on-3 game, while Saturday was reserved for the NHL All-Star Games.
With the excitement surrounding the weekend, the 3-on-3 game seemed to steal the show. The game featured a classic rivalry, Team Canada vs. Team USA. Both countries had their best athletes on display and Canada escaped with a 2-1 win.
Many of the female athletes found it to be a surreal experience. Sarah Nurse, a Canadian forward spoke to this stating that the best male and female hockey players were sharing the same ice surface and mingling around. She continued to point out the interest the male athletes had in the current state of women’s professional hockey.
“They really support our cause, and they want to know more about what we’re doing, because these last few years, we’ve been out of sight, out of mind, and people haven’t really been privy to what goes on in women’s hockey, so they were really just curious to see what’s going on, and they want to know how they can help and what they can do to promote the game”.
The female players that took part in the 3-on-3 game are all members of the Professional Women Hockey Players Association (PWHPA) and are currently boycotting the current hockey season hoping to bring awareness and funding to a sustainable women’s hockey league.
The NHL All-Star Weekend provided a great avenue for showcasing the talent of female hockey players, but it also showed the gender inequalities. Examples of inequality include the significantly smaller salary female athletes receives and an underrepresentation or misrepresentation in the media. Allowing the women to partially share the weekend with the best of NHL will hopefully allow the public to appreciate female hockey, and pave the way to gender equality within the sport.